Thursday, September 3, 2009

Moroccan Or French?

You know those pretty perfect Sunday afternoons when the weather is delightful, the city is bustling, and you have no real plans but to stroll along and eventually stop for a bite?

Last Sunday was GORGEOUS! What hurricane were we worried about again?? 

We strolled through the West Village and into Soho searching for a cool patio to have a glass of wine before moving on to dinner. (Note: most wine bars are indoors, cozy, and dark.) 

It was early in the evening and we were in no rush. The super summery striped umbrellas with lit lanterns hanging at Cafe Gitane in Nolita caught our eyes immediately. I have been here a number of times in my 5 year tenor in NYC, but not in quite a while. I love this spot. 

We waited outside (there is no room at the small bar/kitchen counter) to be seated for about fifteen minutes and finally settled in at a tiny blue matching table and chairs right in front of the restaurant and under the attractive umbrella. 

After starting with a bottle of a fruity white, we asked a few questions about the menu. 

Our waitress was beautiful in the uniform green frock and also incredibly honest about the menu (which I admire). 

"How is the Herbed Goat Cheese with chili flakes and pomegranate syrup?"

"Not good. There are much better things to choose from on the menu." 

"Well alright then, I will start with the Brie and Apple." A safe bet and one I have enjoyed before.

A nice $6 portion accompanied with delicious foccacia. Light and lovely. 

We also started with the Smoked Trout Salad (black lentils, walnuts, arugula, dried cranberries, avocado, goat cheese, cherry tomatoes, shallots, vinaigrette) An amazing combination of a million different flavors. But a big portion. Can be split between two for starters. 

We then decided on the Moroccan Cous Cous with chicken (red peppers, raisins, toasted pine nuts, humus, and eggplant) and the Chicken Satay with a Peanut Sauce, Jasmine Rice and a Carrot Salad. Both delicious and satisfying choices. 

One annoyance: the honking traffic just a few feet away. I don't know if it was something in particular on that night that was holding the traffic up on Mott Street, but the honking was loud and relentless. Maybe a table inside would have been better?

Go with....
A date, a few friends (tiny spot), a visiting friend.

All of the above mentioned. Also try the Chocolate Chaud. The drink is dusted with a paw stamp-like print and comes with a bitty chocolate candy. The Hachi Parmentier (organic ground beef with mashed potatoes and salad) is a hearty treat resembling a shepard's pie.

Out of Pocket....
Very reasonably priced. 

Where exactly....
242 Mott Street between Prince and Houston